Saturday, February 5, 2022

January 2022

 Why does January always feel so long? When we lived in America, I used to think it was because the weather was dreary and cold and we were stuck in the house most of the time. But even here, January feels long.

We started the year off the same way we always do, waking up in our beds in the living room floor from our family New Years Eve slumber party. We love watching the ball drop in NYC live online at 7am our time! We were awakened at midnight by the sound of fireworks going off all over the city. This year, instead of just lying in bed annoyed, I got up and looked out the window to watch the fireworks show. It was pretty cool seeing fireworks everywhere! The hotel on the top of the plateau had a particularly good fireworks show, which we could see from our house.

I've kept up running as often as I can, and Josh has been inspired by me to start running, too. I particularly enjoy running with Rey around the soccer field during the boys' twice a week soccer practices. This month Rey and I ran 5k without stopping for the first time, and it felt amazing!

The kids got back to school after the Christmas break, and are doing well with their school work. We usually end up doing school through the summer to finish out their books, but we don't want to have to worry about homeschool during furlough, so we're starting to feel the crunch of trying to get them finished on time this year! Only 4.5 more months until we leave for America!

We celebrated my 38th and Haylee's 14th birthday by going out to eat at our favorite restaurant in Zomba- Casa Rossa. It was really nice, but that evening Haylee and Abe started coming down with the first symptoms of...

Yep. Covid. We all got it except for Taylah, which is crazy considering how contagious it is. We drug our sick selves out to the hospital to be tested, which was super fun. The kids were all very brave about having their brains tickled, though, so although we'd really love it if testing requirements for travel were dropped before June, we've practiced for it now if they aren't.

The kids were all sick for about a day with fever and body aches, while Josh and I spent 3 days in bed barely able to function. We're so thankful that Haylee was feeling better before we got sick, so the girls were able to run things for about a week and feed us all while Josh and I convalesced. Thankfully, although the fever was not fun and the body aches were INTENSE, it stayed relatively mild in that it didn't go to our lungs at all and never became serious enough to need more than bedrest and ibuprofen. The kids had some lingering tiredness after their other symptoms had resolved, but Josh and I were BEAT for about another week and a half after we'd technically recovered. It was rough. Thankfully we're all feeling better now.

The next week, we had a kitten just SHOW UP in our yard! That's a cat-loving family's dream right there! Of course we immediately fed him, gave him a flea bath, and named him: Fred! We mostly call him Freddy, or Freddo, or Frodo, except for Josh, who calls him Freddie Prince Jr, Fresh Prince, The Halfblood Prince, and The Cat Formerly Known as Prince. We weren't sure if he'd stick around or not, but it's been a few weeks now, and he seems to like the food, love, and soft places to sleep.

The week after we were all sick, Madagascar, Mozambique, and southern Malawi were hit by cyclone Ana. A cyclone is the same thing as a hurricane, they just have different names depending on where they occur. It hit Malawi from about Zomba on south, and the greatest impact was in the Lower Shire, where we have a property and about 75 partner churches. 

Our house is well-built and not in a flood area, and the only damage we got was some tree branches fell down and one section of a wall collapsed. Thankfully, it was an interior wall between an older and newer part of our property, so our security isn't compromised while we wait until after rainy season to repair it. But many others were not so fortunate. The government has said that over 49,000 households were affected, with 39,000 households being displaced due to their homes being damaged. At least 11 people died, and many peoples' crops are completely gone. It's going to be a long, hard year or more of recovery for many, many people.

The flooding affected the entire country, however, in the sense that several of our hydroelectric dams were severely damaged. Power was out nationwide for a few days, and has been unreliable since it started to come back on. Even when power is available, the whole country is now on load shedding to reduce the amount of power that's consumed. That means that for 6.5 hours each day we are without power, either in the morning, middle of the day, or evening. 

Load shedding is not uncommon here, which is why we have solar backup. It's been better than nothing, but when it's cloudy, the solar isn't very helpful. Thankfully we've gotten very accustomed to functioning without power, and we actually enjoy our quiet, lamp-lit evenings. The thing most affected has been the girls' live online classes, but their teachers have been very understanding and flexible.

That sums up our January! With the calendar rolling over to 2022, Josh and I have really started to focus on all the things that need to be done before we leave for America in mid-June. It feels really overwhelming, so we appreciate your prayers any time you think of us! Also please pray for Madagascar, Mozambique, and Malawi as hundreds of thousands of people pick up the pieces of their lives after cyclone Ana.

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